RIVERCENTER BUDGET: SAME OLD

rvrcntrRiverCenter got preliminary approval for its 2011 budget Wednesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank RiverCenter presented its 2011 budget to the borough council Wednesday night, a perfunctory here-it-is and thank-you-for-coming that took all of two minutes from the governing body’s regular meeting.

“There’s nothing major we have this year,” Executive Director Nancy Adams told redbankgreen.

With the exception of a thousand or two dollars shuffled around to different line items, this year’s $512,120 budget is a replica of the independent agency’s 2010 spending plan: holiday events are still on, capital projects will go forward and the agency will again put an emphasis on marketing the borough throughout the state and beyond.

Additional money will be put into those efforts, Adams said — not only through the budget,  which is funded by a surcharge on commercial properties in the special improvement district, but also by money raised by events throughout the year, such as last year’s oyster festival.

The move to funnel more money into marketing last year, she said, paid off, exposing a wider audience to what Red Bank has to offer, while keeping the town with competitive with hot spots like Asbury Park and Long Branch, Adams said.

“I think it (worked), but that’s subjective because everybody has a different idea whether we’ve done enough or if we’ve advertised where they’d like us to advertise,” she said. “But we were able to offer more to local areas, and we were never able to do that before.”

In the lineup for events this year will be another gingerbread walk, Christmas concert, holiday horse-and-wagon rides and the Guinness Oysterfest. The agency will also continue with capital projects, such as sidewalks maintenance, holiday decorations, repairs to benches and and upkeep to sidewalk plants and decorations, Adams said.

RiverCenter, which recently moved from its office on Broad Street to a corner office in English Plaza, is also projected to save about $500 a month on rent, allowing money to be dispersed to different line items in the budget, Adams said.

For about three years now, RiverCenter has maintained its total budget at the $512,000 mark, and intends to keep it that way, Adams said. With the move and turnover of staff members from last year, Adams said she’s comfortable with the money the agency is working with.

“I think we’ll be able to be more productive with the staff we have and not raise the assessment,” she said.

The council gave preliminary approval on the agency’s budget Wednesday night. A public hearing and final vote is set for 6:30p on April 25.

“It is approved,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said. “Thank you.”